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Connected by the Sea: Waterford & Gaza Come Closer Together with New Exhibition at Waterford City Library

The ‘Gaza and the Sea’ exhibition by photographer Mohammed Zaanoun was commissioned by MEP Grace O’Sullivan prior to October 7th

A new exhibition showing the connections between Gaza and the Sea is now on show at Waterford City Library. The exhibition has been launched by Waterford MEP Grace O’Sullivan, who after traveling to the West Bank in February 2023, began the process of commissioning the project connecting her love of the oceans and work on Palestine. 

“While in Palestine our initial plan was also to visit Gaza as part of the official European Parliament delegation, however the Israeli authorities didn’t allow this. I learned so much from the Palestinian people in the West Bank and have brought this back to my work in the European Parliament, but one conversation stayed with me - a lady who had lived there all her life but she had never seen the sea, due to the travel restrictions for Palestinians in the region” O’Sullivan noted. 

The sea holds a great importance to the people of Palestine - those living in the West Bank have been completely cut off from the Mediterranean and Gaza is now the only place where Palestinians can reach the water. It is therefore the only place where centuries-old fishing traditions are carried out, acting as a connection for Palestinians to their cultural heritage. 

The initial idea to commission a calendar and an exhibition titled ‘Gaza & the Sea’ began in the summer of 2023. Just as award-winning Gazan photographer Mohammed Zaanoun was commissioned to create the exhibition, the events of October 7th unfolded. Since then, Gaza has now faced some of the most horrific violence seen in all of its history.

“We were unsure of what to do with the project, but with Mohammed’s consent, and wanting to support him and his family as he now became a photojournalist documenting the tragedies unfolding in Gaza, we proceeded with the project by using photos Mohammed had previously captured. The images are very poignant and now vastly different to the reality in Gaza today. But they show the beauty of Gaza and its people in a snapshot in time - we purposely left the photos without captions, so that those who are viewing them have to think about what is happening then and and in the new reality now” O’Sullivan shared. 

The exhibition will run from Monday 4th - Friday 22nd March in Waterford City Library, Lady Lane. 

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